Saturday, January 21, 2012

War of the Roses - BBC Article

I, personally, believe that I have a broad Tudor knowledge from when Henry VIII became King in 1509 until Elizabeth's reign ended in 1603, when she passed. 
Specifically, I have extensive knowledge of Elizabeth's reign and that's where my true passion lies.  However, I need to educate myself and become more knowledgeable of Henry VII (Henry VIII's Father), which includes the famous long time struggle of the "War of the Roses".  While I educate myself, I thought it would be best to share this post.
Below is an article that was published in the BBC History Magazine in 2010 and is extremely informative.

During the second half of the 15th century, the people of England witnessed three regional revolts, 13 full-scale battles, ten coups d’etats, 15 invasions, five usurpations, five kings, seven reigns, and five changes of dynasty. Little wonder then that the Wars of the Roses – the name given to the exceptional period of instability that occurred between 1450 and 1500 – have long been regarded as one of the most compelling and, above all, confusing, periods of British history.

If there’s two facts that people know about the Wars of the Roses, it is that they pitched the Red Rose of the House of Lancaster against the White Rose of the House of York – and that they dragged on for a very long time, taking almost a century to peter out.
Fewer people will be aware that the conflict was sparked by a cataclysmic train of events in 1450 that saw England blighted by a massive slump, a government quite without credit, defeat abroad, a parliamentary revolt and a popular rebellion. It was an inability to resolve these issues over the following ten years that brought the Yorkists and Lancastrians to blows.

The Wars of the Roses are best conceived as three individual conflicts:
The First War, from 1459–61, witnessed the Yorkist Edward IV (1461–83) overthrowing the Lancastrian Henry VI (1422–61).
The Second War, from 1469–71, led to the restoration of Henry VI in 1470, but ended with Edward IV back on the throne in 1471.
The Third War, from 1483 until at least 1487, saw Edward IV’s son Edward V (1483) deposed by the new king’s uncle, Richard III (1483–5), who was himself defeated at Bosworth in 1485 by the first Tudor king, Henry VII (1485–1509). Enemies of the new Tudor dynasty continued to scheme until 1525 – though, in the eyes of the paranoic Henry VIII (1509–47), the threat remained until 1541.

The three principal wars consisted of lightning campaigns that were resolved quickly on the field of battle. Each of these battles bears a name, and we know roughly where they happened. Modern archaeological surveys have revealed scatterings of artefacts on the fields of Towton and Bosworth, but nothing much to see. There were very few sieges: London was threatened three times and the Tower of London taken twice. For long periods, 1461–69, 1471–83, and after 1485, most of the kingdom – all the south, Midlands, East Anglia and West Country – was at peace.

So how did the wars start? The clash between Henry VI and Richard Duke of York at Ludford Bridge in 1459 is sometimes cited as their opening act. Richard had long opposed the king but was routed at Ludford and died in 1460. However, his allies soon declared Henry – who had suffered mental illness – unfit to rule. In 1461 they replaced him with York’s son, Edward IV, and confined Henry to the Tower.

At first, Edward ruled through his elder cousin, Warwick (the Kingmaker), and then through a series of favourites. Prominent among them was William Herbert, the new ruler of Wales, whose power was soon seen as a threat to Warwick. In fact, it was largely to destroy Herbert that Warwick and Edward’s brother, Clarence, rebelled in 1469, deposing Edward and returning Henry to the throne.

But Edward wasn’t gone for long. He recovered his crown in 1471 – after destroying his enemies at Tewkesbury – and ruled for a further 12, relatively stable years. During this time, he moved between his palaces in the Thames Valley, settled on Windsor for his burial and embarked on the reconstruction of St George’s Chapel as the spiritual heart of the house of York.
He dispatched his eldest son, Edward Prince of Wales, to Ludlow Castle to govern Wales, and saw to it that his brother, Richard Duke of Gloucester, became lord of the north.

This period of peace was to come to an abrupt end on Edward’s death in 1483. The king’s son and successor, Edward V, was deposed and consigned to the Tower by the Duke of Gloucester, who was himself to meet a violent death as Richard III two years later.

Richard may not have reigned long but he did have time to transfer Henry VI’s body to St George’s Chapel in a symbolic act of reconciliation with the Lancastrian line. That wasn’t enough to stop the bloodshed. In 1485, at the battle of Bosworth, Richard was killed and Henry VII (nephew of Henry VI) became the first Tudor king.

Shakespeare and almost everybody since has hailed Henry VII as England’s saviour and celebrated the battle as the end of the Wars of the Roses. In doing so, however, they have merely been regurgitating Tudor propaganda, promulgated at once to deter resistance.
In reality, Henry had to contend with a host of plots and a succession of rivals – this despite the fact that he had married Elizabeth of York, the daughter of Edward IV. Their son, Henry VIII, was thus the heir of Lancaster and York, the red and the white rose.

Yet Henry VII decided not to join in death his father-in-law, Edward IV, and his uncle, Henry VI at Windsor, choosing instead to build a grand new Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey for himself. This splendidly florid structure proclaimed that the Wars of the Roses were over and that the new Tudor dynasty had arrived.

*above came from the following site:

 Written by Michael Hicks, who is a professor of medieval history at the University of Winchester. He wrote the book The Wars of the Roses.


tudorcrazy said...

This is indeed a very complex and confusing history. Many mysteries surround the death of the princes in the tower, which were the sons of Elizabeth Woodville. She was a lightening rod character that was a ey factor in the rivalries at the time. I believe that Sharon Kay Penman might be one of the most famous fictional author on this time period. I own them, but have only read one, as I feel insecure tackling this period still. I have much to learn before going backwards. The story of Warwick the Kingmaker is a real saga which I have read.

Anthony Paradiso said...

Tudorcrazy (like the name),
My most knowledge and passions falls within Elizabeth I. But, I also enjoy Henry VIII's realm and am becoming more knowledgeable of it. However, I had very little knowledge of Henry VII and the War of the Roses, which is why I wanted to start to gain some kind of knowledge by watching "The Shadow of the Tower". Obviously, I have more learning to do but it's a start. Still, nonetheless my true passion lies with Elizabeth. Thank you for the comment. Have a good day!

tudorcrazy said...

I absolutely understand. But, to understand Henry 8, like the show says "you think you know a story, but you only know hoe it ends.You have to go back to the beginning"Henry's phobia of Buckingham, Lady Salisbury, Cardinal Pole and many others were important beheadings. His depression over Jane's death had mainly to do with his Mother Elizabeth of York, whop also died of child bed fever.
Elizabeth was traumatized and shaped by these events.

tudorcrazy said...

Since you are mostly focused on Elizabeth, what is your favorite or most compelling part you like about her life?
Her early years, her acsention, her rule, her political nature or her intellectual gifts. What about her personality do you like? What do you hate? Why was she such a successful monarch despite her being a women, in the age of woman Monarchs? There is a circle there between France, Catherine DeMedici, England, Mary Tudor and Elizabeth Tudor, and Scotland Marie Stuart.
How significant was Elizabeth's influence on the economy at the time. Henry spent a great deal of money on battle, and left his exchequer empty.
He had a huge phobia concerning France. Elizabeth had a huge phobia about Spain. Do You think that was because of Catherine of Aragon?
Would the Spanish Armada even happened if she didn't beheaded Mary Stuart?
Think about all these topics for your thesis. I am chiding you!

Anthony Paradiso said...

I will need some time to respond to the last question as it is very heavily involved with many questions and will involve heavy answers. I, too, will also answer the post before that, in that same response. Great discussion!
I will respond to this within a few days.

tudorcrazy said...

Forgive all the typos. I write for hours, and my eyes get tired. Then I am embarrassed. I have asked you a lot of defining questions, to guide your thoughts about your thesis. Writing a thesis is a serious business, and your theme must be accepted by a committee. I don't need to tell you that with the exception of Anne Boleyn, and Mary Stuart, Elizabeth is the most written about woman in history. We know a great deal about her, as opposed to her Mother. Henry had everything of hers destroyed.
E had defining periods and incidents in her life and her reign.
She was shaped by some of the great thinkers, and her mother was the victim of a conspiracy resulting in regicide. Was she predisposed to regicide, of was it abhorrent to it? Her murder of Mary Stuart was indeed a defining moment for her, and her reign. Although Anne was not a royal, she was an anointed Queen. Only 2 of Henry's wives were anointed Queens. Only Catherine was a true princess whose title was above his.
I have been thinking about this theory all day.
Of his six wives, Henry only beheaded 2.Those were the 2 women he had the most intimate sexual relationships with. Anne and Kitty Howard. So he was deeply emotionally involved with them. Catherine he tired of and although she was a dutiful queen, I doubt she passionate in bed. Jane was an innocent. Anna unconsummated, and Catherine Parr more of a companion and nurse.Only Anne B and Catherine Howard were passionate sexual partners. Do you think that contributed to their violent end? This is just a theory.
I think you can tell my tone in my comments that I have taken a great interest in helping you define your goals for your thesis. If I seem too forward, please email me and I will withdraw the heavy questions. However, I am always interested in sharing what little knowledge I have accumulated, and I know the process through my daughter who is your age but wrote her thesis at 22. She graduated very young, and Graduate school was the only answer. She had very little advise where she did her thesis, (Syracuse)and we all felt that they could have been more responsive in guiding her studies.My youngest twin daughter is getting her masters, but there is no thesis, she is an accountant.
How do I post photos on your blog? I have a beautiful Tudor library, and a Tudor bathroom. You would enjoy the photos.
I just received 3 books today I bought on Amazon, a rare splurge for me, but off topic.
Catherine De Medici, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Felice Della Rovere, The Pope's daughter.
One more thing, I think Joan Beaufort who be an important person to familiarize yourself with. This was Henry's great grandmother. She was pivotal. I believe she was only 13 when she gave birth. Beastly

Anthony Paradiso said...

I am most fascinated with Elizabeth because in a weird sort of way I relate to her. I respect the obstacles she had to go through to become Queen and remain Queen. She reigned a country with no man and no heir. When she became Queen, the country was broke and when her reign ended, England was one of the most powerful nations. That's a small part. There is so much more. I have also addressed this in my About me section and in other blogs.
Henry VIII had a phobia about France and Spain too, at least in my opinion. I don't believe her phobia with Spain was because of Catherine of Aragon. I think her phobia of Spain had to be the fact that it was an extremely powerful nation and it controlled Rome and the fact that they wanted a Catholic, such as Mary Queen of Scots to rule England. I don't believe her phobia is directly from Catherine of Aragon.
I don't believe the Spanish Armada would have invaded if Mary Queen of Scots was not killed.

tudorcrazy said...

Elizabeth's greatest crisis was the murder of her cousin May Queen of Scots. Not only was it a traumatic event, regicide,But it defined her later years where the Spanish sought retribution through the Spanish Armada, hr next greatest crisis. This single event in my opinion was as traumatic as her Mother's beheading. She was a doughter of Bloodshed, and understood fully what the execution of Mary meant. This single act is the most controversial in her reign.

Anthony Paradiso said...

definitely one of the most controversial events that happened in her reign. It was either 2 events happening:
Elizabeth I being overthrown by Spain/Mary Queen of Scots/a Roman Catholic
she have Mary Queen of Scots (MQOS) executed for high treason, as MQOS allowed the execution of Elizabeth I in one of her letters. By having MQOS executed, it did cause Spain to invade England.
I believe Elizabeth knew what was at stake. I also think it was a very hard decision for her to make but she did what was best for England. This is only my opinion.

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